Today the American Cancer Society released new screening guidelines for colorectal cancer, including changing the age to 45! This discovery was just published in the CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and states that doctors need to change the age from 50. It is due to younger people presenting with symptoms early, and with the proper treatment, they could help prevent colorectal cancer.
Colon Cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is much more treatable in individuals who are 45 rather than 50 because the polyps are often easier to remove when they are caught early.
What Is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the colon. Your colon is a large, 5-feet long organ in the digestive system that plays an essential role in removing and processing nutrients from our food. The colon is also responsible for eliminating waste material through the rectum and anal canal. (1)
Over time, many people develop adenomatous polyps, which are noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells in their colons. Though in most cases polyps remain benign, some turn into colon cancer over time. Most cases of colon cancer start as benign polyps. Polyps tend to have few or no noticeable symptoms at all. Therefore regular screening is often required to remove polyps while benign and detect cancer early on. (2)
Colon cancer is becoming a serious and growing problem. In the US, colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer and 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death. About 4.3% of the population is predicted to be diagnosed with colon cancer at some point in their lifetime. That is 40.1 per 100,000 people diagnosed with colon cancer each year. Unfortunately, 14.8 per 100,000 end up dying from colon cancer.
Colon cancer affects all genders, though males have a higher risk (46%) than females (35.1%). All ethnicities are also affected, although black males have the highest chance of all (54.6%) statistically and Asian females often have the lowest risk (28.8%). Because the five-year survival rate is 39.2%, the age was reduced from 50 to 45.